Head coach Sean Payton has retired but the Saints promoted Dennis Allen from within the organization and they retained offensive play-caller Pete Carmichael.
It also looks like Michael Thomas will be ready to start the season.
Is Las Vegas disrespecting the Saints? Let’s break it down.
AFC East Over/Under Wins Total: BUF | NE | MIA | NYJ | Division Odds
NFC East Over/Under Wins Total: DAL | PHI | WSH | NYG | Division Odds
AFC South Over/Under Wins Total: TEN | IND | HOU | JAX | Division Odds
NFC South Over/Under Wins Total: TB | ATL | CAR | Division Odds
New Orleans’ front office had a salary cap deficit of approximately $77M going into the offseason. GM Mickey Loomis and VP of Football Operations Khai Harley were able to restructure and revise contracts, whittle down the cap numbers to a manageable -$20M and begin to sign players. The Saints flirted with quarterback Deshaun Watson before signing starting QB Jameis Winston to a two-year, $14 million deal. Perhaps the best two offseason acquisitions were to add Landry and Mathieu. Both have roots in the New Orleans area. Loomis made shrewd moves by retaining most of the coaching staff and promoting Allen as head coach and Pete Carmichael as primary play caller.—Kyle T. Mosley
Week 1: At Falcons
Week 2: Buccaneers
Week 3: At Panthers
Week 4: Vikings
Week 5: Seahawks
Week 6: Bengals
Week 7: At Cardinals
Week 8: Raiders
Week 9: Ravens
Week 10: At Steelers
Week 11: Rams
Week 12: At 49ers
Week 13: Buccaneers
Week 14: BYE
Week 15: Falcons
Week 16: At Browns
Week 17: At Eagles
Week 18: Panthers
Winston is expected to start Week 1 at the Falcons and the Saints hope he can pick up right where he left off. Winston tossed fourteen touchdowns with only three interceptions across his first seven games for the Saints last year, earning the sixth-best passer rating in the league and logging the lowest turnover rate of his career.
Thomas is also expected to return in Week 1. The 2019 fantasy football standout, who tallied 149 catches and 1,725 yards in 2019, hasn’t played a full season since then but the sky’s the limit—as is the bust potential—for the talented receiver.
Winston got yet another weapon as the Saints traded up to draft Chris Olave with the 11th pick in this year’s draft. Olave will have plenty of opportunity, even with Thomas back on the field, to make a big impression for New Orleans.
The speedy receiver will also share the field with veteran newcomer Jarvis Landry.
In short: Winston has no shortage of weapons available and with Carmichael remaining as offensive play-caller, we should know what to expect from this offense.
Running back Alvin Kamara is perhaps the biggest question mark for the season. A looking suspension has been postponed yet again, but it’s delay suggests Kamara may be available for the start of the season with a suspension coming in a few months.
Let’s look at the schedule and see what we can surmise.
Beginning with the NFC South, the Saints will play the Buccaneers, Falcons and Panthers each twice. I think Tom Brady wins both of his matchups, but the Saints could easily take both from the Falcons and Panthers.
I’ll give them four wins within their own division.
Moving on to the rest of the NFC, the Saints host the Vikings, Seahawks and Rams at the Superdome. That’s a huge home-field advantage, and I will give them the Seahawks in an easy win. They can likely also beat the Vikings, so let’s call this six.
After breaking it down, it makes sense why the over is heavily juiced. That being said, there are enough question marks around Winston and Thomas returning from injury, a minor coaching change, Kamara’s looming suspension and Olave’s rookie season that as a betting person, I’d rather take the plus-money.
BET: Under 7.5 wins (+138)
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